Apple is taking all of the necessary preliminary steps to assure safety and integrity in its pursuit of self-driving car tech. New information was recently leaked that proves that the company is requiring autonomous car drivers to undergo a series of tests, prior to driving the vehicles.
Business Insider accessed documents that Apple filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) solidifying the required testing, and also offering secret information about the company’s “Apple Automated System.” The documents explain the details of each test, and in so doing, provide insight into the technology itself.
One unique aspect is what Apple refers to as “Drive by Wire,” simply meaning that a driver can use the accelerator freely and the autonomous system will maintain uninterrupted control. The system uses a Logitech wheel and pedals. Drivers are trained that if they touch the brakes or the steering wheel, control immediately goes back to the driver. Teaching drivers how to regain control, in the event of an incident, is a priority of the training.
Drivers must pass a total of seven tests in order to be considered certified, and subsequently allowed to “pilot” Apple’s self-driving test vehicles on public roads. The tests include low-speed driving, high-speed driving, sudden acceleration, sudden braking, sudden steering input, tight U-turn, and conflicting turn signal and action.
For each test, the drivers are allowed to practice two times, and then are given three opportunities to pass. Thus far, six drivers have been approved, and reports show that most of them are machine learning specialists with doctoral degrees.